If your idea of “top” means the most expensive, most collectible turquoise, the list would read something like this:
1. Lander Blue ($200 - $250 a carat)
2. Number Eight ($100+)
3. Bisbee ($100+)
4. Lone Mountain ($50 - $100)
5. Indian Mountain ($50)
6. Red Mountain ($50)
7. Candelaria ($50)
8. Carico Lake ($35)
9. Here you start getting lots of mines with similar per carat cost
The list above would represent carat prices from the best of that mine. You can find very reasonably priced rocks from the mines above, they just are not the “top” of that mine.
Is this the right stone for you?
“Is this a good stone” is a frequent question here at the Trading Post. If you like the stone and the color fascinates you, who cares if it is a .25 cents per carat stone or $100 a carat rock. I have seen many well-known artists put not so appealing turquoise in their high dollar art, and at the same time I have seen many artists who demand the high dollar because of the high grade material they use in their creations.
Stone dealers always talk about legendary Hopi artist Charles Loloma accumulating certain turquoise mines to use in his work. Trends like this, especially by popular artists can create cost drivers for certain materials. Also, in the last 10 years you have seen an increase in Japanese collectors who have a very refined taste for American Turquoise, and this has resulted in costs for certain turquoises to increase dramatically. Plus, add the cost of gold into the picture and you have corporations buying up traditional turquoise areas of Nevada and completely destroying any hopes of blue vein recoveries.
If I had two pieces of jewelry in front of me, one with a Lander Blue Turquoise stone and the other a really good piece of something blue, and both are made by the same artist in a similar style I would try to afford the Lander Blue. However, if I didn’t have enough for that Lander Blue piece it would never stop me from getting a great piece of handmade art by a First American artists that had something with a really pretty blue stone.